November’s destruction and disruption of an unexpectedly devastating storm in the Northeast gave us all a chance to test out our resilience, survival methods and coping skill. Reflecting on your own reactions and observations of others can be instructive.
In conversations with clients who shared their experiences and concerns with me, I was struck by the very broad spectrum of reactions….some unique to the severity of disruption and loss and some more representative of stylistic differences and habits build on previous life experiences. Many, who survived other devastating crises, compared Sandy with a job loss, 9/11, loss of loved ones, a broken relationship, loss of personal belongings. They found it helpful to look for commonalities in these past reactions and actions to other events to flex emotional muscles needed to deal with the present and future.Remembering strength, choices and support systems from formerly survived crises adds perspective and action to the present.
There appeared to be several “learning moments” around crisis management: focusing on what you can be grateful for, demonstrating compassion and reaching out to help others, setting realistic priorities and expectations, focusing on small things that can make a difference rather than what we cannot change or fix.
Hopefully, Sandy is behind you or you are at least in the process of repair and recovery. Regardless, you can learn from your responses and inform your future choices.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
1. If you were in the potential storm path, what constituted your decision to stay/evacuate?
2. If you were a proximate observer, but unaffected personally, what actions did you take, if any?
3. In a similar future crisis, what would you do the same? Differently?
4. What enabled you to recover your sense of “normal” in the face of loss?
5. What did you learn about yourself? About others?